How to Improve Your Mentoring
Mentoring comes in many different forms and, unless you implement the correct principles throughout the mentoring process, it can be difficult to work.
Today’s most successful leaders are often the most successful mentors too, simply because they work hard to produce other great leaders as opposed to just creating followers. They do everything in their power to imprint their experience on others, helping them progress, develop, and become fuller versions of themselves.
This is the key goal every mentor should aim for, but it’s much easier said than done unless you have the right principles behind you. Here are the four top characteristics of the best mentors around that you can start implementing into your own mentoring strategy:
Focus on character
Too often do mentors focus solely on learning skills. Whilst this is important, the best mentors and leaders go one step further than the ability to require skills and begin working to shape better character and values too.
In the long-run, having the right values often matters more than simply learning the correct skills for the job, as it will help build self-awareness and overall confidence.
Put the relationship first
In a similar way to purely focusing on skill acquisition, many mentors see their mentoring task as a ‘check the box’ process instead of being relationship-based.
Whilst it’s undoubtedly still important to set goals and work hard to meet them, working on developing chemistry with your mentee is equally crucial. In fact, research has shown that if mentees don’t report having a good relationship with their mentors, there’s very little difference between the development of mentees and those not even being mentored.
Mentoring requires trust and rapport as well as focus on skills, so taking the time to get to know your mentee is almost guaranteed to have positive effect.
The best leaders understand that, alongside their mentoring, they ultimately have a duty towards others in addition to their company. This duty involves not only being committed to the best interests of your employees, but also working to uncover your mentees strengths and passions.
This will show you care both on a personal and professional level, and is sure to make your mentees feel more confident and motivated with you by their side.
Whilst it’s important to consistently give your mentee honest and constructive feedback, it’s important not to let cynicism and negativity get in the way. Showing optimism and giving energy is key to keep your mentee motivated and positive.
So, even if they come to you with crazy ideas you simply know aren’t going to work, instead of instantly jumping in with negativity try considering if it could work with a few modifications.
Thinking of reasons not to support an idea is much more negative than looking at the bigger picture and identifying its positives and, if your mentee sees you doing this, they’ll receive positive energy from you which is certain to encourage them in the right direction.
Implementing all four of these strategies is certain to improve your mentoring process almost instantly. Taking the time to get to know your mentees on a level beyond simply acquiring skills will identify their true potential. And, if that potential doesn’t seem to fit with your particular company, you’ll have the knowledge to help them move on to a better role.
At the center of all mentoring is simply being a good person and ensuring to have good people around you. This is achieved by helping mentees achieve the right values and become fuller versions of themselves, which will not only improve your reputation as a mentor but give your company the best possible team.
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